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Kenya: Nonviolent Social Action

QPSW is working with Kenyan Quakers to build a positive, nonviolent grassroots peace movement by helping local activists to stand up for human rights and a just peace in Kenya.

During Kenya’s 2007 election, the world was shocked to see East Africa’s most stable democracy erupt into violence. After the violence, which left 1000 people dead and an estimated 350,000 people displaced, our partners recognized that while trauma recovery, mediation, and conflict resolution initiatives are crucial, the success of these efforts will be limited while legitimate grievances about governance, corruption and basic rights are unaddressed.

QPSW works with local partner Change Agents for Peace International (CAPI) to train and support local activists who are holding government and institutions to account.

To learn more about this work, read 'Nonviolent approach yields results in Kenya' from edition 82 of Quaker News and visit the Turning the Tide website to learn more about the methodologies learned.

Hear Laura Shipler Chico talk [mp3 file: 21Mb] about about the work of Quaker Peace & Social Witness to address corruption and other core structural causes of violence in Kenya, focusing on our massive campaign to educate people about their rights in the lead up to the presidential elections in March 2013.

Preparing for the elections

Quakers in Britain (via Quaker Peace & Social Witness) collaborated with local Kenyan partners to do the following:

  • Civic Education – to educate 4000 people about the electoral process and get people thinking about leadership and integrity
  • Citizen Reporters and Watch Dog Groups – a local, volunteer-based early warning system for rising tensions, violent incidences, hate speech and election misconduct
  • Local Response Teams to:
  1. Defuse violent situations and mediate community conflicts
  2. Challenge social injustices relating to elections using nonviolent strategies

Read an article about this work by Laura Shipler Chico on the WRI website [offsite link].

Early Signs of Success

As a result of our civic education, people in Lugari, Western Kenya have developed inter-ethnic, cross-party vetting mechanisms for local candidates. They are demanding that candidates share their vision, their credentials and their history rather than rely on ethnic partisan politics. A movement is building around a Swahili slogan, translated as “It is we, the people, who will determine the future of Lugari!”

Citizen reporters sent messages to a call in centre about 4 politically-motivated murders in a remote part of Mt. Elgon and the arming of rival militias. A response team called a meeting of 60 people, many of whom had already participated in Quaker-led peace and social change initiatives. They attended a funeral of one victim with a message of peace and are developing other community-based interventions to defuse the tension.

How You Can Help

  • Raise awareness by hosting a speaker
  • Donate to Britain Yearly Meeting for Kenya Elections Work – we are still trying to raise £20,000
  • Fundraise in support of the work
  • Spread the word about the work that is happening

For more information contact Laura Shipler Chico, telephone: 020 7663 1075